Power Rankings: Divisional Style

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Anyone can list the best teams in one of the major professional sports and provide a brief explanation why each squad is rising or falling, but nobody thinks to rank the divisions that each of these teams play within. In the MLB, where teams play within their division over 50% of the time, it seems relevant to discuss the strength of each division before you make any conclusions about each specif team. Here are Baseball Revival’s Divisional Power Rankings:

1. A.L. East

This one pretty much goes without saying. Four teams above .500 and even the last place Blue Jays are loaded with talent after their fleecing of the Miami Marlins this offseason. The Red Sox and Yankees are perennial powers, the Rays develop talent better than anyone else in the A.L., and the Orioles are very competitive under Buck Showalter’s lead. The best division for the last five years is still the best division in baseball.

2. N.L. Central

The Central is currently a little top heavy, but those top three teams (Cardinals, Reds, and Pirates) actually own the best three records in the National League right now. While the Pirates early season success should always be taken with a grain of salt, the Reds and Cards are undeniably two of the most complete teams in the MLB. Now that the lowly Astros have been shipped off the to the A.L. West, the Brewers and Cubs can round out this division as a dangerous, if inconsistent, matchup for any of the top three teams in the Central.

3. N.L. West

Anyone on the east coast is likely to scoff at this lofty ranking, but the West is really stacked this year. You have the defending champion Giants, the underachieving Dodgers who just received a much needed shot in the arm thanks to the phenomenal debut of Yasiel Puig, and the young Padres who are starting to see some of their drafted players flourish on the big league level. Oh right, but all three of those teams are struggling because the top two teams in their division, Arizona and Colorado, are hitting the cover off the ball. The Rockies seem likely to slow down, especially due to the recent and devastating injury suffered by Troy Tulowitzki, but the D’Backs are actually one of the more dangerous lineups in all of baseball. It’s a close call, but the West does have a tremendous talent pool.

4. A.L. West

While the N.L. West has more talent across the board, the A.L. West definitely possesses two of the best teams in baseball. Oakland and Texas always seem to be in the playoff race, and right now they are lucky to be unchallenged by the disastrously overpaid Los Angeles Angels. Despite having a roster full of unknowns, Billy Beane’s A’s continue to win regardless of the circumstances. Texas is dealing extraordinarily well with the departure of Josh Hamilton, and their pitching staff deserves a lot of credit for their 38-28 record. While the Angels should eventually rebound from their dreadful start, the awful Mariners and Astros probably will not, and they drag this division down in the overall rankings.

5. A.L. Central

Show me the man who is willing to bet against the Detroit Tigers winning this division and I will show you the man who is willing to lose money. While the Tigers belong in the top 5 discussion when it comes to traditional power rankings, they are leagues ahead of the White Sox, Royals, and Twins. The Indians were making a run last month, before they dropped about 11 straight, but the other three teams are simply not very competitive on a nightly basis. The Tigers only real weakness is at the end of the bullpen, where Jose Valverde has already blown three saves and helped Detroit falter to a 36-28 record that wouldn’t be good enough to clinch a wildcard, but is good enough to earn a five game lead in their poor division.

6. N.L. East

Speaking of only having one contender, the Braves appear poised to return to the level of dominance that allowed them to clinch 14 straight divisional titles. The Nationals are finally getting things turned around, but with injuries to young cornerstones Strasburg and Harper, as well as health concerns with Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman, they seem unlikely to live up to their own expectations. Then you have the hapless Phillies, and two of the most poorly run franchises in all of sports in the Mets and Marlins. It’s not really the cream of the crop.

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About nweitzer7

Nate Weitzer is a die hard Celtics and Red Sox fan although he has little love for the New England Patriots. Currently a graduate student at Boston University looking to earn a Masters in Sports Journalism, Weitzer blogs weekly for Baseball Revival (See link below), covers high school sports for local start-up paper Boston Urban News, and writes on the Celtics for http://thenosebleeds.com/category/sports/celtics/

Posted on June 14, 2013, in 2013, MLB and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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